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Actor Luke Perry, Known For 'Beverly Hills, 90210' Role, Dies At 52

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Former teen heartthrob Luke Perry died today at age 52 after suffering a stroke last week. His fellow cast members from the '90s hit "Beverly Hills, 90210" are expressing sympathy today. NPR's Mandalit del Barco has this remembrance.

(SOUNDBITE OF JOHN DAVIS' "THEME FROM BEVERLY HILLS, 90210")

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: In "Beverly Hills, 90210," Luke Perry was the high school stud Dylan McKay. He drove a motorcycle. He surfed. He wore an earring. And he had lots of relationships. Here's his bad-boy character talking to one of his girlfriends, Brenda.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "BEVERLY HILLS, 90210")

LUKE PERRY: (As Dylan McKay) Truth is I don't know. I loved you more than I ever thought I could love anybody. Maybe that was a problem. It was just too intense for both of us.

DEL BARCO: By the end of the series in 2000, Perry's brooding character had struggled with alcohol and drug abuse, and he watched his bride get killed.

Just last week, Fox announced a revival of the show with most of the original cast members except Perry, who was busy acting as Archie Andrews' father on the show "Riverdale." In that role, he was an overprotective father of the live-action comic book character.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "RIVERDALE")

PERRY: (As Fred Andrews) Where'd you sneak off to last night?

KJ APA: (As Archie Andrews) You heard that?

PERRY: (As Fred Andrews) Son, I've been hearing you sneak out since you were 8 years old going to Jughead's treehouse.

DEL BARCO: Perry was born in Mansfield, Ohio, and started out on TV in the 1980s as a teenager in daytime soap operas such as NBC's "Another World." Over the years, he acted on TV shows such as "Oz" and "Body Of Proof" and in the films "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" and "The Fifth Element." Perry also lent his voice to cartoons, such as "The Incredible Hulk," "Mortal Kombat: Defenders Of The Realm." And he even made an animated cameo on "The Simpsons," making balloons with Krusty the Clown.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE SIMPSONS")

DAN CASTELLANETA: (As Krusty the Clown) Look, kids, a horsey. And what are you making, sideshow Luke Perry?

PERRY: (As Luke Perry) A 19th century carousel.

DEL BARCO: More recently, Luke Perry filmed a role for Quentin Tarantino's upcoming movie about Charles Manson called "Once Upon A Time In Hollywood." Mandalit del Barco, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Mandalit del Barco
As an arts correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco reports and produces stories about film, television, music, visual arts, dance and other topics. Over the years, she has also covered everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Her news reports, feature stories and photos, filed from Los Angeles and abroad, can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Alt.latino, and npr.org.